There is no appetite in the U.S. for boosting investment at the expense of current consumption by redirecting spending, workers, and capital. Nor is there much scope for American producers to export even less than they already do. This means that any realistic scenario in which U.S. investment rises substantially would mostly involve some combination of higher production out of existing labor and capital as well as higher levels of imports. In theory, good investments should boost the capital stock and eventually make it easier to further increase both investment and consumption, but that process takes time. Until then, there will be a mismatch between America’s needs and its productive capabilities that can only be bridged by drawing upon foreign production. Foreigners stand to benefit from this even if some of the specific subsidies encouraging U.S. investment have local-content restrictions.
- Date Posted:
- June 13, 2023
Across the country, well over a dozen states are flashing warning signals, triggering the so-called Sahm rule, which links the start of a recession to when the three-month moving average of the unemployment rate rises at least half a percentage point above its low over the past 12 months. The Sahm rule traditionally applies to national unemployment — not state-level data, which can be distorted by small sample sizes — but the trend across the country suggests labour market conditions have softened. Still, the weakness is not yet broad-based and would need to intensify for the worst prognoses to be realised.